Archive for April, 2016

Big Dream

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Dream-BigAt this point in time it is impossible to say, with any degree of certitude, who will eventually become the forty-fifth president of the United States of America or how history will judge the new president. But this much we can safely say: The person who will take the oath of office on January 20, 2017 will have done so because he/she dared to imagine the impossible.

Likewise, each of us has tremendous power in our imaginations. Our imaginations are the fuel cells of our lives. Without imagination we will forever live shriveled up lives tethered to the here and now. As kids our imaginations are super-sized; we believe that the sky and beyond is within our grasp.  But the older we grow, our imaginations seem to lose their power and resiliency in direct proportion to number of candles on our birthday cakes.  That does not have to happen.

The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Our Founding Fathers had faith in a dream – a BIG DREAM. On the surface, initially their dream may have seemed more like a fairy tale. But it became much more. It morphed into reality! Faith always starts with the way you look at things. It is a God given ability.  The lesson for all of us in this election year is to never let anybody or anything downsize you dreams or your imagination. Dream big; dream the impossible. Keep the faith no matter what.

Part 1 UNSCREWED – Becoming Whole Again

Falling UP

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

ShelSilversteinFallingUpWhat a difference ten years has made. That is how long it has been since I reluctantly left my dream job.  Next to being taken away by an alien spacecraft, that was about the last thing I expected to happen. After twelve years it was unexpected and devastating. For the first time since I was fifteen, I was unemployed. I recall filling out a medical form shortly after learning of the loss of our church in a “bloodless coup”. One of the questions was about employment. I had to put my “X” in the “unemployed” box.  I wanted to cry. I felt an all – encompassing pall of worthlessness and shame descend over my whole being.

Suddenly at age fifty-nine I was officially a “loser”! I was shocked, angry and bitter. In the midst of my self-pity, I refused to have hope. Like so many successful people, I had let my job define me. Due to my irrational thinking, I wrongly concluded that, “John without my job equaled a zero”. The next hundred days were as close to hell as I ever plan to get. However, the last thirty-six hundred or so have been as close to heaven as I expect to experience on planet earth. Because of the love of many very special people, at some point during those hundred days of despair, I decided to climb out of my self-imposed hole and live again.  Nashville anchorman Bob Sellers wrote piece about “Falling Up” a few years back. That pretty much describes what happened to me, even though I went from a multi-million-dollar facility to a rented school auditorium. Sometimes whether we fall up or down in life is solely a function of what we choose to do after the fall and little to do with the fall itself. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8-28 NLT

Something to Think About


More about my fall at:

Part 1 UNSCREWED – Becoming Whole Again


Wednesday, April 6th, 2016


Despite having never bounced a check, I got a letter from Bank of America Saturday telling me that I was overdrawn $17.88. Unless I took care of it immediately, they might have to report me to an outfit called “ChexSystems” where apparently lots of bad things happen to folks.  Here is how I got overdrawn:  A few weeks ago I went to BOA and closed an account.  They wrote me a cashier’s check. The next month I got a statement showing that I had two cents left in the account.  The following month they had added a service charge giving me a negative balance of $8.93. I called the bank. “No problem Mr. G we’ll take care of it right away”.  A month later, I’m now at minus $17.88 and they threaten to report me. 

It is a good thing I opened the letter Saturday, after they had closed! I was going to march in there first thing Monday morning to give them a piece of my mind! They obviously don’t know who I am.  For their information, I am the John Gouldener; I keep my accounts in the black, thank you! To whom do they think they are writing?

And then God did it again.  He said, “Look here John; haven’t we talked about your pride before?  You said you got it, but this BP rise over the bank letter makes me wonder.  Take a deep breath, calm down and listen to Me.  Somebody made a mistake. That is all. Don’t you make mistakes?  How would you like it if Cathy got all bent out of shape when you screw up?  Remember the other day when you…?”

It is amazing how God always speaks the truth if we will give him the chance.

Something to Think About

My online book for free. Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory.